Your transformation is possible not because you are empowered to do better but because you have died with Jesus. Not only was the penalty of your sin broken once and for all. So was the power of your sin and its control over your life. The enemy is now a defeated foe, subject to the authority of the Spirit of Christ and the Word of God dwelling within you. These are crucial, bedrock truths of your new life in Him.

Please understand that this is not just a theological concept or a legal transaction that you will be able to appreciate in heaven one day. It is here-and-now reality. You are organically connected to Jesus in such a way that when you accepted Him as your Savior, you died with Him and were resurrected with Him. Like the seed, your old nature has been planted in the ground and your new nature rises up above it. All of the benefits of Jesus’ victory over sin, death, and Satan are yours.

This is why Paul so emphatically told his readers to “reckon” (NKJV) or “consider” (NASB) themselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ (Rom. 6:11). The vast majority of Christians are striving for death to sin and life in Christ, but we already have them! This is our reality, and it becomes our experience as we count on it by faith to be so.

Perhaps you don’t feel as if the siege of sin in your life has been broken. Maybe the archenemy still seems very alive. Unfortunately, this amazing work of Christ and the journey between the cross and the resurrection—a vivid, captivating, powerful image to Paul’s first readers—has been reduced to what we normally call the Easter story. The message has been boiled down to the minimum of Jesus coming, dying for our sin, rising from the dead, and offering us forgiveness if we accept Him as our Savior—all wonderfully true, and a powerful message, but not the whole story. The gospel goes much deeper. Profound events happened that turn dying seeds into immense forests of mighty oaks. Jesus made genuine transformation possible.

Sadly, most Christians don’t change very much because they really have no clue what they already possess or what happened to them when they trusted Christ as their Savior. We need to understand that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work within us right now (Rom. 8:11; Eph. 1:19; 3:20). But remember, the power of resurrection implies a death. You can’t be raised up if you haven’t gone down. Only as we believe old things to be dead can we experience the newness of life. So let’s get practical and talk about how this actually works in our everyday lives.

In our focus passage for this chapter, Ephesians 4:7–10, Paul explained three profound theological truths that help us understand the basis for personal transformation.

Ingram, Chip. 2021. Yes! You Really Can Change: What to Do When You’re Spiritually Stuck. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

We have just released a new Bible Study based on Chip Ingram’s amazing book, You Really Can Change. These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.